Of those Christians who voted for Trump over two years ago, many prominent supporters still feel justified (or at least invested to the hilt) in their pick. Despite mocking from the left, Trump has been kind to Christians.
At Wednesday's memorial service for President George H.W. Bush, Trump was the only non-participant in the ritual reading of the Apostles' Creed.
Evangelical radio host Dr. Michael Brown defended choosing Trump.
But this neither concerns me nor surprises me, since I didn’t vote for Donald Trump because I thought he was an evangelical Christian. I voted for him because I thought (or, at least hoped) that he would be a friend of evangelical Christians. I voted for him because I thought (or, at least hoped) that he would be sympathetic to the things that were important to us.
In that regard, I have not been disappointed. To the contrary, I have been happily surprised.
I have no beef with this argument, and Dr. Brown, among others, has been very consistent in his approach. Boiled down, voting for Trump because he's not Hillary, and being pleased with the results is a strong position, which few can deny.
But that approach fraught with uncertainty, and those who hold it know it is, precisely because Trump is not an evangelical. He has no investment in Christianity other than a transactional, expedient relationship. And that can change--very quickly.
Plato would ask about Donald J. Trump: "what is his nature?"
Trump's nature is self-preservation, and self-aggrandizement. When he fights, it's on behalf of himself, with you along for the ride as long as you're riding in his chosen vehicle (aka the "Trump train). While I don't endorse those conservatives who are repulsed by the thought of siding with Trump train passengers on any issue for any reason, like Max Boot and Bill Kristol, I also understand their principle.
Just like Franklin Graham, who has chosen to ride shotgun in the Trump train as a better choice than to find himself left behind without influence over the driver/conductor/engineer/track layer Trump, Kristol and company have chosen to remain at the station waving goodbye even if the train happens to meander to places they themselves would like to go. I choose to go where the train goes, when it goes where I want, but I refuse to buy a ticket that requires me to remain on board.
Back to the Apostles' Creed. Dr. Brown hit the nail square on the head with a suggestion about Trump: "Perhaps he’s not a true Christian and so had no interest in making the statement of faith." Perhaps.
If that "perhaps" is true, let's consider the consequences. When it suited him, in the past, Trump has turned on those close to him. Let's list some of them:
Trump turned on two of his ex-wives (though now Ivana mostly defends him).
Trump turned on two of his long-time personal lawyers: Roy Cohn at the end of his life suffered Trump totally cutting him off, and now Michael Cohen has become a non-person.
Trump turned on his early supporter then-Senator Jeff Sessions, spending eighteen months driving Sessions from the Attorney General's office he appointed him to.
Trump turned on RNC head Reince Priebus, after obtaining Priebus' obsequious support to obtain the nomination, unceremoniously firing him as Chief of Staff by tweet and leaving him on the tarmac at Andrews.
Trump turned on his one-time campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Trump left Michael Flynn for dead, and I'm sure will turn on him by the end of this.
But many of those people, you may say in defense, attacked Trump. True. But that doesn't mean they don't deserve some measure of loyalty or defense. When they became inexpedient to the president, he dumped them, and in some cases, danced around as they suffered.
The only people I'd say Trump has not truly turned on is the media. With them (especially the Washington Post and CNN), he has a co-dependent, sick sort of deadly embrace. They both suck the life from each other, and they both prosper from it. It's gross. While Jim Acosta is truly horrified (when he's not being deified for his "standing up" to Trump), Trump is amused, even jovial, at the battle.
And in case you say all these relationships, turnings and leavings are scripted, Hollywood-style dramas that take place in the House of Cards beltway and New York fashion districts, look at a small sample of real world Trump turnings.
Trump bankrupted an Atlantic City casino, the Trump Taj Mahal.
Trump left Bridgeport, Connecticut holding the bag on a Fifth Amendment travesty, after the city condemned land for him and he left them with--nothing.
Trump convinced Eastern Air Lines Shuttle pilots to support him in converting the pedestrian walk-on air service into a gilded Trump Shuttle. Then he bankrupted the airline, keeping one of the aircraft as his personal trophy (he still has it).
Trump shamelessly sold his name and fame to huck vitamins, steaks, vodka, real estate get-rich-quick schemes and other products, none of which made anyone any money (except Trump). When those who invested in the products went under, Trump simply walked away, sued, or pretended he knew nothing.
Trump made so many paupers in the banking industry that no U.S. bank would touch him, leading him to source funding from Russians, who he has (mostly) not yet turned on.
Now, as president, Trump turned on farmers, because as a "tariff man," that's who suffers when China, Mexico and other trade partners stop buying our agriculture products.
In 2015, I quoted my then-pastor, who cautioned Christians to be careful, because the first time Christians differ from Trump, he will turn on us.
Conservatives continue to mock the progressive left as it self-consumes in stupidity like "intersectionality" and an insatiable mob outrage machine. When celebrities and leftists realize that the machine has come for them, Christians laugh and point fingers.
The long line of those who have been left waiting for Trump to pay off, know what happens when the time comes for him to leave them. Trump is who he is, and in the strongest likelihood, that will not change.
As Christians, and as conservatives, we must be very, very careful not to hang our hats on the shaky pole of "perhaps."